The Joys of Raising BoysStephanie Elliot
I’ll admit that when I was pregnant for the first time I imagined having a precious little baby girl, swaddled in pink, cooing softly, and winning the heart of her daddy the minute she was born. Instead, I was blessed with a boy.
Kristen Safier, of Cincinnati, was so convinced that her baby was going to be a girl, she kept a journal and started entries, “To my daughter.” When she had her 20-week ultrasound and discovered she was having a boy she said she was surprised for about a half of a second. “What surprised me more was how true it is that you really don’t care at all what sex your baby is. Only that he or she is healthy, happy and safe,” says Safier. “After she had spent so much time picturing a daughter, Safier says she didn’t find it difficult to begin daydreaming about her son, Gabriel, now six years old. “I still feel blessed to have such a wonderful and healthy child, and I laugh at myself for being so convinced that he was a girl!”
Why Some Women Want Baby Girls
The urge to have a daughter may stem from your relationship with your mother. Perhaps you have a spectacular connection and you want to experience a similar bond with a daughter of your own. Or, possibly, your relationship wasn’t that perfect and you want a chance to do things differently with a daughter.
Dr. Nancy B. Irwin, psychotherapist, says it is perfectly natural to want a baby of your own gender, but to realize that any image you have of your baby is all projection. “Even if the baby is the gender you prefer, you may be surprised,” says Irwin. “Go with that surprise and cherish the uniqueness of that precious individual.”
Irwin says that healthy parenting involves wanting to raise a child, period. “Just because you have never been a boy, doesn’t mean you can’t raise a great one,” she states. “Raise your child to be the most loving person possible, and he will fill in all the other blanks according to his innate personality, environment, and social learning.” Placing fewer expectations on him will increase the chances of raising a healthy child psychologically, no matter what the sex, says Irwin.
The Beauty of Mom-Son Relationships
Debbie Mandel, M.A., author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, says that women may be surprised by their own reactions to having a son. “Don’t sell short the myth of Oedipus and the special relationship between mother and son,” she advises. “It’s an opportunity to shape a sensitive, kind, and communicative future man.” She acknowledges that many of us want what we don’t have, but that we need to “love what we do have–a healthy baby.”
Christine D’Amico, of San Diego, is a mother of three children and the author of The Pregnant Woman’s Companion. During her first pregnancy she thought she was going to have a girl. After a very long labor, she was thrilled when she discovered that she had a little boy. “He was out, alive, and we had a healthy baby,” says D’Amico. “I had no regret that he wasn’t a girl.”
After having two boys, D’Amico wanted to have one more child and thought it would be great to have a girl. “It seemed like a plus to have a girl because we would get to experience something new. It would also be a plus to have another boy because we knew a lot about caring for boys, and for me, there is something cool about raising a bunch of boys–you get to be the queen of the house, and boys can really love their moms!”
D’Amico’s third baby is a daughter, and she notes some differences between the sexes already, even though Francesca is just one year old. “She is more sensitive to pain than her brothers were. She wails away when a new tooth comes in, and the boys would never cry when they got a new tooth.” D’Amico says Francesca seems to be much more demanding than her sons were but thinks that might simply be due to the fact that she is now raising three children.
Differences in Boy-Girl Temperaments
Vivian Mauro, of Tampa, Florida, is a mother of three children ages four, three and one. Mauro says her middle child—her three-year-old boy—is “restless, disobedient and clingy,” among other things, while her older daughter tends to be calm, cooperative and independent. “If it stopped there, I’d tell you there is a huge difference between boys and girls, but now that my youngest daughter is growing up, I’m not so sure.” Mauro says her youngest—the most active of all three—is a climber who gets into everything and will probably prove to be the most mischievous of her children. “Each child is so different, it’s difficult to say which gender is easier.” When it comes to personality, clearly there’s more at work than boy or girl.
Carla Mowry, of Omaha, Nebraska, is the mother of three sons and says that raising her boys has been rather easy. “I think raising kids in general isn’t as hard as people make it out to be,” says Mowry. “All it involves is time, knowing each child as a person, and being secure in what you want and expect.” Embrace the gifts parenthood has to offer, whether you’re raising a prima ballerina or an all-star quarterback.